Tomato Rice/Arroz de Tomato
This is a quintessential Portuguese side dish, accompanying grilled or fried fish and meat. Numerous variations render it dry (“seco”), wet (“a correr” or “malandrinho”), with peppers etc… Although not usually eaten on its own like a risotto it can easily become the centrepiece of a meal as in a cult road restaurant near Pombal which constantly distributed clay pots of just made tomato rice amongst its many tables as guests helped themselves to all kinds of bite sized fried delicacies such as bolos de bacalhau, rissois, croquetes and many more… This is a basic recipe which can either be served immediately (wet) or let dry slightly so it gains a slightly creamier texture.
8 Ripe tomatoes (peeled and seeded) or 1 tin of peeled chopped tomatoes
1 Cup long grain rice
1 Onion (finely chopped)
1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
1 tsp dried red chilli
2 Bay leaves
3 Tbsp olive oil
1. In a medium saucepan, gently fry the onion in the olive oil with the chilli and bay leaves until soft. Add the garlic, stir, and cook for another couple of minutes at medium heat.
2. Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes then add two cups of boiling water, season with salt, add the rice and cover.
3. Cook gently, stirring occasionally. You can add more water if rice is getting to dry. Check seasoning and serve immediately.